Talk:Expert Error

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Should we mention the rejection of Semmelweiss and his notion that an "invisible substance" carried on doctor's hands was causing childbed fever?

Or the resistance of climate change theorists to acknowledge the flaws in the hockey stick graph? --Ed Poor Talk 15:36, 24 December 2009 (EST)

I think the whole climategate scandal has exposed all the climate 'experts', but the question is whether this was down to error or deceit. TrondE 17:19, 24 December 2009 (EST)
I agree with TrondE that ClimateGate definitely belongs under deceit, not this page. But I'm definitely voting to include Ed's suggestions, I think they're great examples! JacobB 17:31, 24 December 2009 (EST)


United States Patent Office

Leading scientists recommending around 1900 that the United States Patent Office should be abolished because everything useful had been invented.

I couldn't find any corroboration for this: the idea for this entry seems to be an alleged quote of Charles Duell, U.S. Patent Commissioner, 1899:

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

But though this quotation is fairly widespread, it seems to be entirely made up:

So, I'll slap an {{source}}-tag on this entry, until someone is more successful in finding recommendations of leading scientists than I was.

Everything you post must be true and verifiable

FrankC aka ComedyFan 09:57, 25 December 2009 (EST)

Opposition by experts to the United States Patent Office, because supposedly everything useful has been invented.

I think this statement is patently wrong - and it is not backed by the footnote, as no one ever subscribed to the content of this pseudo-quotation.

The late 19th century was a hot-bed of scientific inventions, as various nations struggled for the lead in the engineering sciences. Have a look at the books of Jules Verne to see what was thought to be possible in the near future...

FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:02, 25 December 2009 (EST)

Irving Fisher

The quotes I found were:

  1. "There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash." New York Times, Sept. 5, 1929
  1. "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months." Oct. 17, 1929

Though this was obviously wrong, he didn't say that stock prices would never decrease.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:13, 25 December 2009 (EST)

Thanks for the improvement of the article! FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:03, 25 December 2009 (EST)

William Thomson

The entry for Lord Kelvin is imprecise - according to the source, he thought that

  • heavier than air flight is impossible
  • radio has no future
  • x-rays are a hoax

Naturally, he didn't say anything about radioactivity. FrankC aka ComedyFan 12:15, 26 December 2009 (EST)

Thomas Watson

From the 2005 article Tech titans wish we wouldn't quote them on this baloney:

IBM's archives staff has been asked repeatedly to find this quote. They can't. It's not in any of Watson's documented speeches, and this is a company that documented nearly everything Watson ever uttered. In my research for the book, I never found a reference to such a comment in any of Watson's papers or any story in the press.

It's true that Watson at the time thought electronic computers would be sold only to research labs, but he was hoping to sell them to a lot of research labs — certainly more than five. Watson never doubted the power of electronics. But he, and just about everyone else at the time, failed to comprehend why any business would need to do thousands of calculations per second, particularly if it required an expensive, room-size, power-guzzling machine that would break down constantly — which was the state of computer art in 1943. (Note: Today's high-end PCs can process around 2.5 billion operations per second.)

Conservapedia should check this entry... FrankC aka ComedyFan 15:54, 26 December 2009 (EST)

Best of the public versus Expert

I just don't see how "expert" can be avoided. For just one field - In order to translate the Bible, one must know Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. These are not gained by just living, even the finest of living. One must study these languages and the literatures of these languages, and one must be knowledgeable about the language into which these languages are to be translated. This takes time, effort, specialization, dedication. The result of all of these qualities and endeavors, is a person that is a specialist, an expert. A resource for others to go to, that others must go to. I don't see any other way. There is no guarantee, I know, and experts can be wrong, biased,etc., but they are essential.BertSchlossberg 04:24, 22 April 2010 (EDT)

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